GALLERY | The kibbutz embracing flex workspace
Where would you open a flexible office in a hyper-competitive market? The middle of a city teeming with giant multinationals, fledgling startups and the people who keep them all ticking – or at the heart of a suburban collective founded on utopian ideals?
At Mindspace, the real question is: why not both?
The flex office operator has 40 locations across 20 cities – among them San Francisco, Philadelphia, London and Berlin. But on the other end of the spectrum is a single site at an Israeli kibbutz called Yakum, 20km north of Tel Aviv.
Traditionally agricultural, kibbutzim were founded in the early 20th century on ideals of community and equality. Small groups of people would band together to work the land collectively and – if possible – self-sufficiently.
Over time, those ideals have evolved. Industry and manufacturing came along, while some kibbutzim have decided to privatise themselves. Among them was Yakum.
Cut the noise
Opened in November 2021, Mindspace Yakum takes advantage of its proximity to not just Tel Aviv but the urban centres of Herzliya and Netanya. The space offers members an alternative to working in a city centre, replacing the buzz of traffic with bucolic tranquillity.
Mindspace says occupancy at the site met and exceeded its expectations. Within three months of opening, it signed a client that took 120 workstations. “Of course, it’s more difficult to attract companies to this area than to the city centre, but as soon as companies come tour the place, they immediately fall in love with it,” says a spokesperson for the operator.
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Mindspace Yakum at a glance
Location | Kibbutz Yakum, Sharon district, Israel
Size | 3,230 sq m (34,770 sq ft)
Workstations | 432
- Shared open space
- Boutique lounge
- Equipped kitchen
- Meeting rooms
- Tailor-made suites
- Bike storage
- IT services
- Soda and coffee bar
Is suburban flex space a new challenge?
Mindspace says it’s not “proactively targeting” other suburban locations, though it would consider them if the opportunity arose. “The key factors to consider would be current demographics within the capture area, any demographic shifts/trends (such as arising from Covid-19), nearby amenities and proximity to other office occupiers.”
That being said, the operator does point to a “real influx” of the hub-and-spoke model of working where downsized company HQs are supplemented with satellite offices closer to where employees want to live – places like Yakum. Asked whether there had been any concern about the Yakum workspace being a success, Mindspace highlights the demand for satellite offices, adding that all its locations are opened “after careful consideration of an area’s demand for flex working space”.
But did Mindspace have to modify its product for its suburban membership? Not especially. The services and amenities are the same, from the private offices to the meeting rooms, one-on-one “privacy booths” and events spaces.
After all, the real selling point is the location outside the city centre, rather than a wholly different product. Although there are members who come from the kibbutz itself, others travel from Tel Aviv or the Sharon area. Their jobs could be considered traditionally urban.
Given the appeal of a more idyllic work environment, the space is physically designed to match that. This includes using more natural colours – greens and browns – and flower prints to reflect a location surrounded by nature.
Those, however, are small details. At its heart, Mindspace Yakum is simply another Mindspace flex office. The way it functions suggests that, as people opt to work in new places, choosing to eschew the pull of cities, learning to cater to their needs might not be a monumental undertaking. The basics we need for work are the same whether we’re in Berlin or Yakum.
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